Tag Archives: elderberry

Operation ‘Rescue the Too-Sweet Mead’

By George Shuklin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Raw mead

Towards the end of last year I put five gallons of elderberry mead on to brew, which it has done quite successfully. Despite the fact that it is now definitely done brewing, and is surprisingly strong, there is a slight flaw in this perfect plan. Some tasters have adored the stuff, but I just find it far, far too sweet. Ridiculously sweet. Sweeter than, say, honey and lemon.

As I said, some people love it, but I don’t and nor does my partner in crime. As such a rescue mission is required, and fast, so that I can free up some demijons and reduce the stack of empty bottles currently cluttering our store room (where the full bottles will go is up for debate, but that’s a bridge to cross when we come to it). Not to mention getting it bottled and starting to age is a worthwhile aim in itself. Sadly I’m not willing to bottle it as the syrupy sweet nectar that it is, and so I’ve been discussing this with various people. One of the more experienced home brewers I know had a suggestion which I’m going to try.

Stephen McKay [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Delicious elderberries

You may have noticed that I occasionally mention turbo yeast. This is because I’ve used the stuff, quite successfully, to make some very strong near-liquers before and really enjoyed the result. What I’ve not yet done is used it in the way that nature intended, by making pure spirit. So the plan is to get a fermentation bucket, pour in a lot of sugar, top up with water, add the yeast and make sure the whole thing is standing somewhere waterproof for a few days. After that experiment with different blends of the spirit and mead to see if I can strike a happy medium where the sickliness is reduced, giving us (hopefully) a much more manageable fortified melomel.

There is some prior evidence that this will work, as we had the same problem with a previous mead. In this case it was blended with some commercial brandy and turned into a very warming little liquid, currently sitting in bottles on the rack.


Posted by on February 13, 2014 in Blending, Experimental


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